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Old 07-11-2009, 03:07 PM
 
Location: NE Charlotte, NC (University City)
1,894 posts, read 5,725,602 times
Reputation: 1041

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Yes, already! We've been here 2 years now and have yet to come through with our promise to do a mountain fall leaf color tour...likely only a day drive. Leave Charlotte in the morning, return to Charlotte in the evening. I know all about the prediction and how sporadic it is to try to hit "peak" color...mix in altitude difference and it's very iffy. But a drive in the mountains is worth it...with or without fall color.

So my question is this: who has a good day drive in mind...preferably a loop, likely with options to stop for lunch and/or dinner.

My first thought is something up to the Parkway (likely Blowing Rock) and head south toward Asheville, ending by heading home on I-40 from the west. I know there'll be crowds, but again, it's worth it (to me).
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 88,310,401 times
Reputation: 39844
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metallisteve View Post
Yes, already! We've been here 2 years now and have yet to come through with our promise to do a mountain fall leaf color tour...likely only a day drive. Leave Charlotte in the morning, return to Charlotte in the evening. I know all about the prediction and how sporadic it is to try to hit "peak" color...mix in altitude difference and it's very iffy. But a drive in the mountains is worth it...with or without fall color.

So my question is this: who has a good day drive in mind...preferably a loop, likely with options to stop for lunch and/or dinner.

My first thought is something up to the Parkway (likely Blowing Rock) and head south toward Asheville, ending by heading home on I-40 from the west. I know there'll be crowds, but again, it's worth it (to me).
I have a few ideas

Give me a minute...
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 88,310,401 times
Reputation: 39844
Steve there are many options, I'll give you my two favorite

One is to drive north on I77 to exit 82 - exit toward Sparta onto hwy 21. Take 21 up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Consider stopping along the way at Stone Mt. State Park, you could take a little hike and see the waterfall if time would allow. If not, it's just real pretty to ride thru. Once you hit the parkway go south. In a few miles you come to Doughton State Park which is a BEAUTIFUL section of the Parkway. There is a restaurant there too, so you could stop to eat and enjoy the views. This is really one of my favorite sections of the Parkway. Continue south on the Parkway to hwy 16. Exit the Parkway at Glendale Spings and take hwy 16 N toward Jefferson. You will love seeing all the Christmas tree farms along the way. At Jefferson pick up hwy 221 and take the short drive up to Mt. Jefferson - the view of all those Christmas tree farms from up top is wonderful Follow 221 back to 421 and go east back to I77. That would be a good day.
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 88,310,401 times
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Second idea...

Take I40 west to Marion. Take exit number 86 onto hwy 221. Take 221 all the way to hwy 226, take 226 to the Parkway. Go south on the Parkway. You'll see Little Switzerland, and can even grab a bite to eat there. Continue south on the Parkway all the way to Mt. Mitchell. If you didn't eat before, plan to eat at Mt. Mitchell, the food there has always been good and the views from the dining hall are fantastic. Not to mention, the new observation tower is finally open there and the views are spectacular! After your visit to Mt. Mitchell get back on the Parkway, this time head north (the direction you came from). Within a few miles you will see hwy 80 - take a right onto it heading south. This is one of my all time favorite hair pin turn roads. Your brakes will be smoking when you get to the bottom, lol, but it is so much fun and so beautiful. Hwy 80 brings you back to hwy 70 in Marion where you can pick up I40 east to head home


http://www.romanticasheville.com/mtmitchell.htm
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Lake Wylie, SC
299 posts, read 948,701 times
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#2 sounds great!!! I hope I am there in time for the fall colors... at this rate, who knows when we'll get there!
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Old 07-11-2009, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 88,310,401 times
Reputation: 39844
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSagess View Post
#2 sounds great!!! I hope I am there in time for the fall colors... at this rate, who knows when we'll get there!
Hang in there Silver, I'm pulling for you!! Both of these are great rides, even in the summer - you'll get your chance
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:21 AM
 
Location: NE Charlotte, NC (University City)
1,894 posts, read 5,725,602 times
Reputation: 1041
Very familiar with the route up to and back from Mt. Mitchell from here. Had to learn it since the Parkway was blown out for so long! 80 is indeed a switchback dream/nightmare (depending on your stance...and the nimbleness of your vehicle!). I may give the Sparta loop a try since it ends in Blowing Rock and could just head back down 321 from there to home. Lots of places to stop in that area.
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:05 PM
 
1,343 posts, read 2,914,129 times
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We drove up to Blowing Rock in October, and I think we were still maybe a week or 2 early. We could barely find a place to park and the town was really crowded, but we still had a great time. Alternative would be to drive north on rt 16, through Wilkesboro, which will take you all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Did that on a bicycle!

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